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North Side development caught in crossfire over schools

Exteriors Children's Memorial Hospital still operating Lincoln Park  near FullertLincoln  before their move 225 E. Chicago.  |

Exteriors of Children's Memorial Hospital still operating in Lincoln Park near Fullerton and Lincoln , before their move to 225 E. Chicago. | Al Podgorski~Chicago Sun-Times

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Updated: November 11, 2012 6:26AM

School overcrowding is one of the more contentious issues in Lincoln Park these days, and it has ensnared the developer who wants to build on the old Children’s Memorial Hospital site.

Lincoln Elementary School, 615 W. Kemper Pl., is overcrowded, although by how much is a matter of opinion. Several people involved with Lincoln want the developer to provide space for a new school somewhere on the six-acre Children’s site, which runs south from the Lincoln-Fullerton-Halsted intersection.

It could be a suitable answer for a wealthy area that wants to protect its highly regarded neighborhood school. But that would require money from a deficit-addled school district and cooperation from the developer, McCaffery Interests Inc., and Lurie Children’s Hospital, the property owner.

The McCaffery plan would have added about 900 apartments to the site, perhaps generating hundreds of additional children in Lincoln’s attendance area. In August, Ald. Michele Smith, whose 43rd Ward includes Lincoln Park, came out against the redevelopment, citing its impact on the school. She also said its 21- and 25-story buildings were too tall.

Others are worried that by pressing for a school at Children’s, the developer will gain negotiating leverage to build a dense project.

Smith said he’s unwilling to get into bargaining with McCaffery over a school. She said the Lincoln school council, in advocating for a facility at the Children’s site, would be open to other solutions as well. “We are looking at all the funding options we can get,” Smith said.

Other residents have proposed different ideas, such as redrawing attendance boundaries so more Lincoln Park children can attend a magnet school, LaSalle Language Academy at 1734 N. Orleans.

Daniel McCaffery, chairman of McCaffery Interests, wouldn’t rule out putting a school on the site and characterized the idea as a part of a long neighborhood vetting. “I don’t own the land,” he said. “I’ve pledged to the children’s hospital to work as hard as I can to make things right with the community.”

Asked if the school issue is gumming up the approval process for his deal, McCaffery said it’s too soon to draw that conclusion.

But he knows that just as some Lincoln Parkers want a school on the land, others don’t want to give him license to get tall buildings in return. Community groups have pushed for zoning that would let him build nothing taller than 65 feet.

OFF THE RACK: Nordstrom Inc. said it will open an off-price Nordstrom Rack in Lincoln Park by spring 2014. The retailer said the 40,000-square-foot store will open at 1555 N. Sheffield, across from the Whole Foods, on a site owned by Centrum Partners LLC. It will be its third Rack store in Chicago.

WHAT’S IN A NAME? A touch of whimsy, in this case. An entity called I Don’t No LLC bought a building at 880 Corporate Woods Parkway, Vernon Hills. Businesses are usually quite unimaginative when it comes to LLC names, so this one stuck out.

It turns out this LLC is connected to Overture Promotions, which in turn owns Windy City Novelties Inc., a maker of glow sticks and party favors, said Adam Tarantur, senior vice president at Podolsky Northstar Corfac International. He represented the LLC in the sale. Tarantur said I Don’t No reflects the fun-loving culture of the business.

It paid $2.75 million for the 47,000-square-foot office and warehouse facility, which was sold by an affiliate of backpack maker High Sierra Sport Co. Colliers International represented the seller.

PRICE CHECK: Ever wonder what a fully leased Walgreens is worth? One at 11981 W. 143rd St., Orland Park, sold for $6.24 million in a deal brokered by Quantum Real Estate Advisors Inc. Another in the city at 2345 W. 103rd St. sold for $7.5 million, said the Boulder Group, a broker in the deal.

DOING THE DEALS: Holliday Fenoglio Fowler LP arranged $47 million in financing for L&B Realty Advisors, owners of a 25-story apartment building at 77 W. Huron. It is being renovated. . . . Holliday also arranged $10 million in financing for the Luzzatto Co., which acquired 168 apartments in the 240-unit Woodland Park project, a busted condominium deal in the Douglas neighborhood at 606 E. Woodland Park Ave. The property has three buildings that are 94 percent leased. . . . J.C. Anderson Inc. remodeled 50,000 square feet for Morgan Stanley Smith Barney at 70 W. Madison.

David Roeder reports on real estate at 6:22 p.m. Thursdays on WBBM-AM (780) and WBBM-FM (105.9). The reports are repeated at 10:22 p.m. Thursday and 7:22 a.m. Sunday.

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